Black Lawyers Association - Black Lawyers Ass. contd...

Ladies and gentlemen,

I was requested to speak on the topic the empowerment of black professionals particularly the legal profession.
Firstly Professionals play an important role in any society and are thus the catalyst and agents of change and transformation.
They are a critical sector that influences the direction that any society must take and add significant value to the issues of
good governance and transformation.

It is an undeniable truth that despite the many pieces of enabling and empowering legislation that has been enacted
since 1994, many black and female legal professionals continue to face prejudice and marginalization in the work place.
Black people including professionals, continued to be disadvantaged in the corporate and in the economy at large.

If we are to eliminate prejudice, equality is a value that needs to be inculcated, shared and upheld by the entire legal
professional society and men and women alike. Access justice and legal systems relates to the achievement of gender
equality i.e., equality between women and men to be recognized as a human right, a democratic and economic imperative.

The ANC government has since the liberation of our country in 1994 passed a number of laws and policies to empower
the broad spectrum of our society including professionals. With the sweeping socio economic changes taking place currently
in our country, we expect that professionals must take leadership and ownership of the transformation process in especially
the legal profession.

It is on this basis that we have taken initiatives for historically disadvantaged individuals and previously marginalized groups
and communities to free their potential so that they can participate in the mainstream of society and contribute to the
building of a nation on the move to prosperity

The sector must work with government to bring about fundamental change. As government we can create certain frameworks,
but it is through your interaction with each other and the mechanism you create that will help you deal with the challenges.

We have much work to do to strengthen and increase access to the institutions of democracy, especially parliament, legislatures
and the judiciary, so that they serve ordinary South Africans.

We must all put shoulder to the wheel to ensure that we fundamentally transform the legal system to serve the interest of the
majority and not the few. In the same breath the process of transformation of the South African legal system and making more
reflective of this country's demographics is a constitutional imperative that is non-negotiable. It is a process that we are fully
committed to and will see to its proper conclusion.

The transformation and empowerment of our legal system is thus an important discussion that must be vigorously
pursuit until we redress the inequalities of the past in every sphere of our society

In recent months we have also been exposed and participated in the debate on the independence and impartiality of the judiciary.
We firmly respect and uphold the principle of the independence of the judiciary. However, we must also guard against the abuse
of the state legal institutions that are designed to treat all citizens equally and fairly.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We can make serious progress towards the struggle to eradicate inequality and bridge the divide in all the spheres of government if
we work together as a united force. We are all equally entitled to the rights, privileges and benefits as South African Citizens as
stated in our constitution.

I urge you to do more in your endeavour to transform the legal sector for the common good of all.

May I take this opportunity to wish you well in this National General Meeting. I hope your deliberations will bring your organisation closer to
your goals, and spur your members to new heights.

I also invite all those that are coming from other provinces to enjoy the beauty and hospitality of the Northern Cape Province.


I thank you.

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